Everything you thought Foxtel could never do: watch over the internet and watch competitor services without having to sign a two-year contract.
Foxtel is no longer just for flicking through channels of shows you did not know existed, but now mirrors other streaming services and does a whole lot more. Additionally, the new Foxtel Now Box measures a mere 10cm and looks more like a home device, a big change from the regular iQ set-top boxes we are used to.
Created specifically for Foxtel’s pay-by-the-month streaming service, Foxtel announced earlier this month that it provides several functions including other streaming services and catch-up TV. Of course, you can still navigate through live Foxtel channels, but an enticing on-demand library of TV series and movies are available to stream on all your devices as well as access to Stan via the Android TV store, and internet streaming so you can watch all the YouTube videos on the big screen. The Android TV store opens a multitude of possibilities such as access to apps including subscription video on demand (SVOD) apps and free-to-air catch-up TV apps. The Foxtel Now device also supports 4K Chromecast and Google Play App, as well as a nifty Bluetooth/infrared remote with voice support.
The downside: no Netflix. Foxtel CEO Peter Tonagh has been negotiating with the streaming giant, but the decision is made individually by services to make them available for the box on the Android TV store. “The only barrier to us carrying Netflix is Netflix,” he said. Whether Netflix will be on board could sway a lot of customers due to its popularity, as streaming services become the norm. Another drawback is the lack of a universal search function, requiring users to search individual apps for a particular title, unlike the freshly launched Telstra TV2. Foxtel says it will consider this feature that would definitely improve convenience.
Nevertheless, the Foxtel Now Box marks a nervy shift by Foxtel as is adapts towards the trend of IPTV before its traditional services become obsolete. The company has been sluggish to depart from its cable beginnings but as Netflix further penetrates the Australian market, it is a much-needed move in order to survive. The shift was evident as Foxtel called off its Presto streaming service and committed to Foxtel Now.
Foxtel is finally creating hardware to fulfill what Australian consumers want and wouldn’t mind paying for: just easy access to content when we want it.
Watch Foxtel CEO Peter Tonagh and Director of Product Management at Foxtel, Nick Dandy, unveil the Foxtel Now box on the video below.